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(English:labourer /'leɪbərə/') waa qof xayawaan dhabarka iyo duddka ku qaado alaab, shey ama gof. (English:a person engaged in physical work, especially of an unskilled kind right).


"You are a failure", those were the words my parents uttered at me as they sat across me in the living room. My dad staring into the distance and my mom shaking her head as she held my results. The Joseph Chamberlain College logo embossed into the paper so perfectly, I could see it across the room. It’s almost as if the college withheld that specific quality paper just for me, and for this day.

I failed all of my exams except one, achieving D's, E's and F's. I had this arrogance, this stupidity of always replying back with "at least am not out here selling drugs like…".

At 16 I rebelled against my parents, against the system. I tried to find any excuse to skip class, to be in the world, to be outside. I was a "failure" to them, because I did not behave like the typical future Surgeon…like the perfect oldest son.

 I refused this path to being a doctor with such efficiency, at one review meeting the lecturer did not have a clue who I was and proceeded to ask if I was even in the correct chair.  The hardest part of this journey was that my parents were heavily involved in my parenting. Not something you often had in my community and yet I was throwing it back in their face that year of my life.

I decided to drop out and even my closest friends did not know I had not completed the year. I was the black sheep of the family. "Xamaaliga" my new nickname, basically someone who is at the bottom of society and has a physically demanding job as this person's job does not require thinking.

I worked in a kitchen, and then I ended up at a garage, where I tried my hands at becoming an apprentice to my uncle as a mechanic. I remember the winter cold as I worked 6 to 6, my hands were numb while I waited for customers to arrive. Your regular service, change of light bulb and last minute MOT repairs. In this 12 hour grind I became fascinated with Engines and gearboxes. The internal Combustion engine has been around since "1800" but I learned about it, and every day I went home to google and read books about it. Until one particular day in the summer, when it felt like every car in the world was perfect, my uncle sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do in life.

"This is no place for you, there is more to life than this", I kept arguing that I was content with this situation I could happily live off £20 a day (Yes he only paid me £20). He said “why don't you become an Engineer”. In the community Engineers were highly regarded and intrigued I researched and decided the following academic year to go back to college.

That following year I felt so old, because most of my friends did well, and most started applying to university. And I was here this "xamaali" in class with these 16 year olds I was only just turning 18. But I realise now looking back, I was a lot more mature mentally, and that is something I gained working in "the real world".

I appreciate how people are impressed with me having two degrees and a career now. But I will always remember how I used to be the “Xamaali” at one point in my life. And most importantly my parents are proud of me, and that they feel they have completed their jobs as parents. Regardless of how others see you in society, the most important thing is how you see yourself. I can truly say that failing that year in college was the best thing to ever happen to me. I learned to take responsibility and take control of my own destiny and journey through life.

I conclude that no one should shape how your life is to become, no one should be telling you what career path to choose. Because at the end of the day you are living with the choices you make in life, those who advice you do not. And for those who do not know what to do, I am not suggesting dropping out like I did to find that passion. But if you do something you hate, you will quickly learn what you love to do.

Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom
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